Reports of delays
and snafus with the new electronic poll book equipment began flowing to the
County Voters Registration office as early as 6 a.m. Tuesday when the polls
opened for the municipal primary elections.
Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy told the Chesterton Tribune this
morning that machines used at Porter Town Hall had trouble getting started
in the morning.
“People came in to
vote at 6 in the morning and the (poll workers) told them to come back,”
for the Voters Registration office Kathy Kozuszek said the poll books in as
many as 30 or so of the 51 polling locations were seeing problems with the
WiFi routers using an internet connection to send data and there were
hangups with connections “all day long.”
“It was a
disaster,” Kozuszek said this morning. The part of the county having the
most difficulty with the new machines was Portage, she said, where those who
turned out to vote left because of delays.
Kozuszek, who felt
the process of implementing the e-poll books was rushed by the Election
Board, said she expected problems to arise because the equipment vendor
Electronic Systems and Software notified her a month ago that the machines
still had “bugs” they were trying to fix and were still working on them two
Election Board attorney Ethan Lowe said the feedback he received from poll
workers after the polling places closed was “mostly positive” and only heard
of minor issues, disputing the degree of claims made by Kozuszek and others
that voters stood in line as long as 90 minutes Tuesday morning.
“The information we
received last night was not consistent with the reports from earlier
yesterday,” Lowe said.
Lowe did admit
however that “there were some technical-type issues” in the first part of
the day but said he believes the problems mainly stemmed from poll workers
not having used the poll books before.
“There’s always the
human factor you have to consider when you implement new technology,” Lowe
President and Republican representative David Bengs said his board expected
there to be “a bit of a learning curve” and purposely attempted changes this
election when turnout is frequently lower.
“I never said
everything was going to be perfect.”
Bengs said there
were poll workers who told him later last night “don’t get rid of” the
e-poll books as it made their day easier.
that we really can fine-tune this in the fall,” Bengs said.
Both Bengs and Lowe
said they did not hear one report that voters were being turned away at any
location because of the poll books.
Kozuszek said that
because there were no close outcomes in the contested races this primary,
that there will not be any need for candidates to request a redo of the